Motherhood is a funny thing.
It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t yet been a mother, but most of the time motherhood is a very lonely experience, even though we are seldom, if not ever, alone.
Motherhood can be isolating and frustrating as you attempt to parent your children according to the standards that the culture holds us to. And while we are constantly connected via social media, we are rarely deeply connected with anyone.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve spent the majority of my mothering years longing for some really good “mom friends”.
Currently, we are hearing a lot about finding your “tribe” or “squad” and all the ways to do it, but something I want to talk about is a bit different, because I don’t think the hardest part is over once we find those mommas that we can call our own.
Because, what do we do once we’ve found our tribe?
I’ve been walking this journey of seeking these sort of friends for a while now, and just in the last while have I had any luck. I’ve found a group of women through my local MOPS group that are real, honest, and open, who truly care for one another. But I’ve found that under their care and love, I have encountered a side of myself that is truly uncomfortable with being cared for and loved, despite all my misgivings.
Questions like this often run through my head:
What if I’m being too honest?
What if they don’t like me anymore?
What if I’m just too much, and then they reject me?
What if I’m bothering them?
And on and on, until I’ve backed myself into the isolation corner once again.
For some of us, finding that group is actually scarier than being alone. Sometimes having a core group that is honest, real, and vulnerable can feel so freeing as you let loose your mess to be brought to light under the love of others, and then terrifying when you walk away with a voice in your head asking why you ever shared so much.
A beautiful mess, I’d like to call it.
And it truly is beautiful. I’d like to tell you that I’m pretty sure as time goes on you’ll feel less afraid, and that as you continue to build trust and continue to feel accepted, it won’t be so scary. But I’m not quite there yet. When I am, I’ll let you know.
But please, don’t let your fear dissuade you from finding those people. God calls us into fellowship with others and desires for us to be in community. Motherhood is hard enough without trying to do it alone. And when you do find those moms who you trust and who are willing and able to share life with you, allow yourself to get a little messy. As you allow the brokenness and tough stuff of life to come to light, you just might find that you’re not alone in your mess, and that there’s love and encouragement to be shared in us being who you really are.
So find your tribe. Join a MOPS group, or some other sort of mother’s group. MOPS even has a new group for moms of school-agers called MOMSNext (so you can’t even use that excuse anymore!), as well as many churches or communities have groups of their own. You can even just find some women in your community and create a group of your own. It doesn’t have to look a certain way, all that matters is meeting to grow and be real.
Show up. Be real. Anticipate messy. Expect beauty.
And don’t let fear hold you back from the good that God has in store.